Then Jesus told the story of the rich fool, and as He told it His mind went back to Nabal (1Sa 25:1-44).
For "Nabal" just means a foolish man, and as his
name was, so was he.
Like Nabal, too, this churl was not a badman. He
had not stolen the wealth that was to wreck him.
It was God's rain that
had fallen on his seed. It was God's sunshine that had ripened his
harvest. It was God's gentleness that made him great.
But for all that,
his riches ruined him. He gave his heart to them: he gave his soul.
suddenly, when he was laying his plans, and dreaming his golden dreams
about tomorrow, God whispered, "Senseless!
This night they want thy
soul!" Who the they is-or so it reads in the original-we cannot say.
They may be the angels of death; they may be robbers.
In any case they
are God's instruments, and the rich man must say goodbye to everything.
folly, never to think of that! He had thought of everything except his
God. "And so is he that layeth up treasure for himself, if he is not
rich towards God."
Now there are three things we must
notice about this man; and the first is how very anxious he was.
we are young we think that to be rich means to be free from anxiety
We can understand a pauper being anxious, but not a man who
has great heaps of gold.
But this rich man was just as full of cares as
the beggar without a sixpence in the world.
He could not sleep for
thinking of his crops.
That question of the harvest haunted him. It shut
out God from him, and every thought of heaven, just as that family
inheritance we spoke of silenced the music of Jesus for the questioner.
Who is the man who we sometimes call a fool?
It is the man with the bee
in his bonnet, as we say. But better sometimes to have a bee in the
bonnet than to have nothing but barns upon the brain.
The fool hath said
in his heart, there is no God.
See next how very
selfish the man was. Do we hear one whisper of a harvest-thanksgiving?
Is there any word of gratitude to God?
You would think the man had
fashioned the corn himself, and burnished and filled the ears with his
own hand, he is so fond of talking of my corn.
Do you remember what we
learned in the Lord's Prayer. It is never my there, it is always our.
And the Lord's fool is at opposite poles from the Lord's Prayer, for he
is always babbling about my.
And then were there no poor folk in his
glen? Was there no Naomi in yon cottage in the town? Did not one single
Ruth come out to glean when the tidings traveled of that amazing
If the bosoms of the poor had been his barns, he would have
been welcomed at the Throne that night.
O selfish and ungrateful!-but
halt, have I been selfish this last week? There are few follies in the
world like the folly of the selfish man.
lastly, think-and we have partly traveled on this ground already-think
how very foolish the man was.
Had he said, "Body, take thine ease, eat,
drink, be merry!" there might have been some shadow of reason in it.
But to think that a soul that hungers after God was ever to be satisfied
with food-is there any folly that can equal that?
The world itself,
says James Renwick, could not fill the heart, for the heart has three
corners and the world is round!
Let us so live, then, that when our
soul is summoned, we shall say, "Yea, Lord! It has long been wanting
And to this end let us seek first the kingdom. For where our
treasure is, there will our heart be also.